Edinburgh International Film Festival is well underway now, and one of the big films hitting the Scottish capital of Trainspotting and Avenger Assembling was the Kyra Sedgwick directed and Kevin Bacon starring Story of a Girl.

A couple of years back, coming-of-age film Diary of a Teenage Girl received its world premiere at Ed Film Fest too. That was such a unique, edgy and different coming-of-age film, though. Whilst that perhaps wasn't a direct inspiration for Story of a Girl, Sedgwick's directorial debut can't help but feel like it shares some blood with that picture - or, at least, wants to; it's clearly trying to be an edgy, different coming-of-age story. But, unfortunately, the film merely tries and never quite succeeds in impressing. Instead, it feels predictable and contrived and falls very flat.

Where Story of a Girl really falls apart is in its screenplay; there is so much going on and no clear, cohesive voice throughout. The film tries to cram in so many subplots and backstories to beef up the characters and the audience's investment and emotional reaction but it forgets to keep things cohesive and simple so instead becomes way too convoluted and messy for its own good and really falls apart. On top of this, the characters themselves are so weak too. All the characters are so one-dimensional and forgettable that we find it hard to ever really care for them. Even our protagonist Deanna is hard to root for because of how poorly developed and rushed her character arc is; the film gives her too little depth and humanity for us to really root for.
With coming-of-age stories, they really only work if we can invest in our lead character and their situation. When we don't, the film can pull off everything else yet still fall flat and that's exactly the problem Story of a Girl suffers. We just simply don't care and everything falls so flat and feels so lacklustre and boring as a result. The characters are so weak because of a messy, overstuffed and unfocused screenplay that tries too hard to be "different" that it forgets the basics of good characters. The performances, for the most part, are great. Ryann Shane is great as our lead Dee, and she gets some terrific support from Sosie Bacon, Tyler Johnston and Kevin Bacon as Deanna's boss, the owner of Craven's pizza, Michael. However, it really is just a shame that the characters are so poorly realised that there's not much real nuance or depth.

Kyra Sedgwick's direction, too, is fine. The film is nicely shot and edited and Sedgwick certainly shows promise for future directorial efforts as a capable talent behind the camera. However, the story and the screenplay are so mawkish and rushed that the film can't help but feel tired and fall quite flat on an emotional level. It's a fairly formulaic premise for the genre too and the film never quite manages to be funny or stylish or unique enough in its execution to make it stand out from the crowd; in fact, it's very predictable and quite a conventional teen-flick. Whilst it's technically sound and competently filmed and acted, Story of a Girl can't help but feel so messy, bland and forgettable. We just don't care for anything going on in the story or for any of the characters. And it's a shame too. There was a lot of promise.

VERDICT:
Story of a Girl tries hard but impresses little, and instead feels too convoluted, bland and lacklustre to be anything more than forgettable.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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